Over the decades, many fans on both sides of the Pacific have tried to answer this seemingly simple question in a variety of interesting ways, ranging from a sheer commonsense approach (which, as we’ve learned time and again, doesn’t exactly work well with Sailor Moon) to in-depth analyses of the clothing the denizens of the Silver Millennium wear.
Unfortunately each of the answers I’ve heard thus far seems to fall short on one point or another, and I find myself wanting something just a little bit more concrete. Assuming that’s even possible.
Today we’re going to take a look at some of the popular theories surrounding the fall of the Silver Millennium and then take a stab at the question ourselves. If you’ve also been mulling this over for the past dozen or so years, this one’s for you!
Before you can build a sturdy
Moon Castle house, you’re going to need to start with a solid foundation. In our case, our “foundation” starts with clearing up some of the wrong answers before we can build up our own theory.
So what are some of these theories? Well, I’m glad you asked!
A quick note: I will be alternatively referring to the Moon dynasty as the Moon Kingdom and Silver Millennium throughout. They are essentially the same thing.
The Moon Kingdom Fell 1,000 Years Ago
This is one of those “commonsense” answers that you often see thrown around, though I never actually seem to find any supporting proof other than the nice, tidy convenience of it all.
Essentially, the idea behind this is that most things in Sailor Moon seem to happen in blocks of 1,000 years. This would make the whole timeline nice and clean: the Moon Kingdom falls in the 10th century, the anime/manga takes place in the 20th century, and the events in Crystal Tokyo unfold in the 30th century.
Unfortunately, as nice as it would be if this were the case, it doesn’t quite work out due to some reasons that we’ll outline below.
The Moon Kingdom Fell 2,000 Years Ago
In addition to this further building on the themes of Christianity that were slowly introduced into the series starting with the Infinity arc, there is some supporting evidence for this… or at least it seems like there is.
When Hotaru re-awakens as Sailor Saturn in the Dream arc in the manga, the following lines grace the page:1
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle…
While it is pretty easy to make the connection between “the twenty centuries of stony sleep” with Saturn’s long wait to be awakened by the Outer Senshi, and thus implying that this is a reference to the fall of the Moon Kingdom, unfortunately this is nothing but a red herring.2
The lines come directly from the poem “The Second Coming” written by William Butler Yeats.3 In fact, on the previous page, you can see that Hotaru is reading a book titled “The Collected Poems of WB Yeats,” which pretty much seals the deal.
Though it’d be great if this actually were the correct answer, there’s really no basis for it.
Prince Endymion Lived During the Renaissance
This theory is actually pretty simple: Prince Endymion wears plate armor, which reached its peak in the late-15th and early-16th centuries.4
Yes, that’s literally all there is to it.
I don’t think much needs to be said to debunk this theory, so I’ll just do it in a bullet list so we can get on our way:
- the Sailor Soldiers wear 20th century Japanese school girl-inspired uniforms back during the Silver Millennium
- Princess Serenity’s dress is nearly a direct copy of the 1992 Christian Dior “Palladio” dress5
- unless all of the Earth’s memories were erased, this is too modern to have been lost to history
- technology used by the Golden Kingdom could easily have been more advanced than the rest of the world
I could probably keep on going, but I think that’s good enough to properly debunk this theory.
Now that I’ve essentially said “here’s why everyone else is wrong,” this is the part where I’m supposed to explain how I’m right.
Alas, across the many times I’ve read through the manga and watched through the anime, I can’t for the life of me find anything that would help us narrow down the exact timeline of the Silver Millennium to anything specific enough to be useful.
What I can say, however, is that we know that it must have taken place much further in the past than most people seem to assume. In fact, it would probably be safest to place the Moon Kingdom as having risen and fallen prior to the earliest written records in human history.
I am the personification of the one known by those of Earth as Selene, the goddess of the Moon.
The earliest written accounts of the Greek goddess Selene date back to at least the third century BC, though there may be references going back even earlier, to around the sixth century BC.8 This implies that at least some of the major players in the Silver Millennium weren’t entirely unknown to modern humans and may have simply been misinterpreted as gods.
However, just a few pages later, Queen Serenity goes on to say that the role of the Moon Kingdom and the Silver Crystal was to protect the Earth from negative energy and to watch over the planet as it evolved. This actually fits nicely with statements later made by Nehellenia about the early days of the Moon Kingdom where she states that Queen Serenity and her retinue came to the Moon back in its infancy.9 Possibly shortly after the hypothesized planetary impact that created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago?10
Queen Serenity refers to Endymion as the prince of the Earth Kingdom and talks about him trying to convince the “people of Earth,” which implies that there was a large, unified empire that spanned the entire globe in the days of the Golden Kingdom. This is further supported by the fact that each of the Four Heavenly Kings assume control over a different part of the globe.
She sums up her story about the past by saying that the Earth Kingdom also fell and that civilization had to essentially start over from scratch.
So what does this all mean?
Well, basically all the information we’re given states that the events of the Silver Millennium happened “a really long time ago,” but we don’t have enough to actually go beyond that.
My best theory is that Queen Serenity and her entourage came to the Moon hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of years ago to watch over the Earth, possibly as life first began to develop here.11 Thanks to the constant care and supervision of the Moon Kingdom, a glorious Golden Kingdom developed and prospered on the Earth.
Long before the earliest written records, the battle between Queen Metalia and Queen Serenity took place and both the Moon Kingdom and Golden Kingdom fell. Though all of their knowledge, technology, and powers were lost to time, some of the stories of these mythical figures (Serenity, Endymion, Helios, etc.) somehow survived, possibly passed down as stories before being written down many generations later.
That, however, is just my best guess. I’d love to know what you think about all this! If you have any thoughts about where I went wrong, or possibly any alternate theories, let me know down below!
- See p. 39, act 39, vol. 14 of the original release ↩
- Not to be confused with Freddie’s arch nemesis, Red Herring ↩
- See The Second Coming ↩
- See Plate Armour (Wikipedia) ↩
- See About Naoko Takeuchi ↩
- Or the AI hologram of Queen Serenty, for those who want to get technical ↩
- See p. 22, act 10, vol. 3 of the original release ↩
- See Selene (Wikipedia) ↩
- See act 41, vol. 15 of the original release ↩
- See Giant Impact Hypothesis (Wikipedia) ↩
- See Evolutionary History of Life (Wikipedia) ↩